This is what happened to Jose Rizal and Consuelo Ortiga y Rey.

JOSE RIZAL – Consuelo Ortiga y Rey and Jose Rizal’s unfortunate love story and the reasons why Jose Rizal let go of her instead.

Rizal went to Madrid to study and in his journey in a foreign place, by chance he met Consuelo Ortiga y Rey, the daughter of Don Pablo Ortiga y Rey, the Spanish liberal and former mayor of Manila who became vice-president of the Council of the Philippines in the Ministry of Colonies. He grew admiring her despite the fact that he has a fiancee left in the Philippines and that is Leonor Rivera.

Jose Rizal

Dated January 18, 1883, Consuelo wrote in her diary: “Rizal talked with me for a long time, almost the whole night. He told me that I was very talented, that I was very diplomatic, and that he was going to see if he could extract some truth from me within two weeks; that I was mysterious and that I had a veil over my ideas…”

She was then “Crush ng bayan” because a lot of Filipinos in there admired her. And among the men who vied for her attention were Eduardo de Lete, and brothers Maximino and Antonio Paterno. Rizal was smitten with Consuelo but eventually gave up because he was still then in love with Leonor and can’t risk friendship over a woman.

However, in an article published in La Solidaridad, Lete attacked Rizal which made the latter promptly cut off ties with the former. After their apparent affair ended, Consuelo had a tragic ending as well.

According to Lete a per NHCP, right after their engagement was formalized, she lost her humor and also in seems like their marriage did not happen at all. Years later, after her father died, she was left alone for her brother flew back to the Philippines to fill a post.

Moreover, “She was very unfortunate, dying alone, sad, and abandoned, a victim of tuberculosis … An excellent and illustrious friend communicated to me this news when I went to Madrid as representative of a very important news agency of London on the occasion of the marriage of King Alfonso XIII in 1906 … May she rest in peace.”

But she became immortal through Rizal’s writing where one of his poems was dedicated for her entitle “Miss C.O. y R.” A part from the poem he wrote for Consuelo as translated by Nick Joaquin states:

You wish to learn the cause of this dejection
delirium of despair that anguish wove?
You wish to know the wherefore of such sorrows,
and why, a young soul, I sing not of love?

Oh, may you never know why! For the reason
brings melancholy but may set you laughing.
Down with my corpse into the grave shall go
another corpse that’s buried in my stuffing!


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